Monday, June 14, 2010

Why I'm Still Supporting Tim - Dialogs with Voters

Over the past couple of weeks I've had a chance to discuss the Senate race with a number of voters; in person, via e-mail, and over the phone. Many of these discussions were with ardent Lee supporters or just people who had genuine questions. As a result of this, I've come to an even more certain conclusion that Tim will be the more effective representative for Utah (see prior post on "Why I'm Supporting Bridgewater").

I'd like to share some of the email conversations with you. I've selected those that cover most of the areas of discussion that I've had with people. The names have been removed but the dialogs are untouched except to correct grammatical mistakes (some may still be there so forgive me).

One thing I would like to note up front of the more than 50 one on one conversations I've had, only two contained what I would call uncivil remarks. This to me says a lot about supporters of both candidates and I genuinely appreciate the opportunity I've had to communicate with so many people and am grateful that they each took the time to converse with me.

Conversation #1

I started out favoring Mike Lee. He was saying all the right things and looked the part. I'm moving toward Bridgewater because he's actually created or built something in his career. One of the candidates at the convention asked if we really need another "career, lawyer, politician. " This was directed at Bennett and Lee and is a good point of debate, I believe. In the end, I'm still undecided, though.
Sounds a little like me. I was initially an Eagar supporter (she was actually the only pre-conventiion senate candidate I gave money to). Then when she kept over promoting the idea that we needed a conservative women I started looking at Lee because I liked where he stood on the issues. However, I had a couple of lingering concerns and focused on Bridgewater (I knew nothing about him except for his ads). After listening to him and talking with him individually I came to the conclusion that he was my guy.
This may sound simplistic but  this was the turning point for me. When talking about education he mentioned that when his kids were in public school he saw that there were some problems and so got involved with charter schools and helped start one. No one said this but my thinking was that here is man who has time and money as a result of his business success and he's using it to do something for the community rather than simply send his kids to a private school. After that I noticed that he had been very involved in local and state politics. Again my thing was here is someone who has demonstrated that he wants to serve.
As I thought about who would be more effective in DC I came to the conclusion that someone who has life, business, and political experience would be better able to articulate how applying constitutional principles today impacts the real world in a positive way. I also discussed this with my father, who worked in for President Reagan as an assistant who oversaw defense and national security agencies (he also oversaw the Justice department for a time), was the deputy director of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the US Constitution, wrote one of the introductions to the current release of The 5,000 Year Leap, and is regularly asked to speak with groups about the Constitution and the Founders. I only mention his credentials so you'll understand that he knows the Constitution and he understands how Washington works. Anyways, he concurred with my reasoning and added a few points of his own.
I think Mike is a good candidate, however I believe Tim will be a much more effective representative for us.

Conversation #2

Now that Bennett has announced his support for Bridgewater I am more certain of more support for Lee.
Two comments. If your support was impacted by Bob Bennett's announcement of his support for Tim then it must also have been influenced by Cheryln Eagar's announcement of her support. Hmmm, how could these two who were competitors only a few weeks ago now support Tim. Conspiracy theories will likely abound but the one explanation that makes sense is that Tim, and this is my second point, like Ronald Reagan, Tim has an ability to make friends with nearly everyone. President Reagan used this to disarm his enemies and then find common ground on issues to make progress. This is what a great leader must be able to do. I believe that Senator Bennett's and Eagar's  endorsement of Tim are indicative of a key skill that is needed for a senator to effectively represent Utah in Washington.

Conversation #3

My two main concerns with Bridgewater are 1) What role, if any did his company have in the disbursement of TARP funds and 2) Why did he choose to endorse John McCain over other candidates in the last presidential primary. 
He speaks of his disagreement with the financial bailouts but if his company has been benefiting as a result, he's being a bit duplicitous. As for the McCain issue, Bridgewater speaks of his conservative credentials but he joined McCain's camp early on in the primary season and McCain was the least conservative of the bunch. This also seems to point toward political expediency and differs from the statements he's making as a senate candidate. Bob Bennett was sent packing just for these kinds of issues. We don't have a voting record to examine on Lee and Bridgewater so I'm looking for actions that back up the talk and so far neither can deliver too much except for what you mention about Bridgewater. My kids went to the same charter school and he was definitely active in the initiation of the school but not necessarily any more than dozens of other parents and teachers.
Thanks for the info and keep me posted.
Point 1) Absolutely none
Point 2) Good point . However,  Romney flipped flopped on abortion and helped institute government health care in MA. Huckabee, to whom I gave money but would not now support for dog catcher, because of his lack of honesty with respect to negative comments directed at members of the LDS faith. The comments were very devious but had I felt he was genuine in his apology I would have forgotten. about them. So much for my initial choice. McCain is in many ways a RINO but he was probably our best shot at beating Obama. In this case Tim made a better choice than I did. Those 3 were really the only ones with a shot at winning, early on. Guliano might have had a shot but his campaign strategy was flawed at the outside so he took himself out of the race early.
In the end Obama winning may have been better for the country as a whole as it has galvanized people who would otherwise be complacent. Had McCain won we probably be headed in the same direction albiet slower and we wouldn't have a shot a winning back congress (and not just with the same old republican establishment types but with some real conservatives). I think both Lee and Bridgewater fall into that camp.
With respect to the charter school the thing that impressed me was that Tim could easily have sent his kids to a private school but took a different route and spent time helping to launch a charter school. If I implied in some way that he did it alone then I'm clearly in error.
If you look at the issues both Lee and Bridgewater are saying the same things pretty much down the line, as did Eager (who I was also an early supporter of). So when I was a delegate I started looking for things that to me would say a candidate was not an "all about me person" and was someone who was a doer rather than just a talker. I spent time with both Mike and Tim and came away believing that Tim has a demonstrated history of service (without pay) and in many cases this service was not anything with a direct benefit to him in terms of political points. He has served his community, state, and party. The McCain choice is a great example to me. He made a decision the McCain was the best shot for the GOP to win against either Hilliary or Obama and then worked to help him. Most likely, he knew that there would be a lot of blow-back from some. Nonetheless he did it because he felt it was the best option.
He has not run any kind of a negative campaign to date against Lee and focuses only on what he sees as the positive items on his side of the equation. Although, I must admit, he did give a friendly jab at Lee, with respect to being an attorney, at the debate last night. If you didn't go to you can watch at . Both candidates made their cases well.
Tim seems also to be able to work with others (when Cheryln Eagar arrived at the debate last night, Tim announced that she had officially endorsed him). 
Again, I believe Lee is a good candidate but I definitely believe Tim is the better one. I have a lot of confidence that he will stay the conservative course and be the kind of representative we need in Washington. BTW, I really enjoy conversations like this and appreciate your candor. Perhaps we'll bump into each other somewhere. It will be my pleasure if we do whomever we each vote for.
Thanks for the reply, Rod. I appreciate the points you make. I can't say that I disagree with any but I like to play devil's advocate sometimes.
Not a bad thing. If we don't challenge each other we end up not thinking about why we stand for something.

Conversation #4

This is the only thing that I question Tim on and makes me hesitant to endorse him fully. Other than that, I side with him. Can you answer the troubling concerns that many have about this business/government connection on the link below? It doesn't seem consistent with his stance on smaller government and getting gov't out of the business of our small businesses.
Look at Tim Bridgewater's company website for Interlink Capital Solutions, which he founded, and which helps to gain government funding for businesses. The website is Does Tim still have ties to this business
Tim is the Chairman of Interlink and so definitely has ties to the company. The company specializes in helping companies get funding from varies government programs (US and countries and organizations) that were created to help jump start businesses in areas that are deemed special for a variety of reasons; emerging markets that are viewed as important because of the potential impact on the economy or environment,  Interlink helps companies put business plans and other documents together which are required to get funding. Were the US government to get out the business of seeding markets by setting up loan programs this is the same process that companies go through to get money from other sources (venture capitalists, angel funding, ...) . I've heard Tim say if that the governments sources of funding were to go away his customers would be on a level playing field with their competitors and would do just fine. Interlink might need to focus some of their expertise on other funding sources for their customers but that would be a straightforward process.
These programs are like student loans. The programs exist so people use them. Tim did not create or influence TARP nor does he to my knowledge lobby congress to direct that budget money be directed at his customers via the ear mark process.

Conversation #5

Thanks for asking [who I support]. The short answer is, I like them both, but I prefer Mike Lee. A longer answer is here at my blog:

It links to and summarizes a much longer discussion.

Both did well in last evening's debate in American Fork.
Great write-ups. I'm with you all the way until your deciding factor. My thinking runs along these lines. Unfortunately, most politicians in DC don't give the Constitution much thought, even though many are attorneys. They have co-opted by the lure of power and influence and now believe that the power of the Federal government can be used to buy votes and keep them in power. So how effective will someone be changing their perspective using a one dimensional tactic of hammering them with the Constitution. Regardless of what Mike says (or any document like the Federalist papers) they will use the line that the General Welfare mentioned the Article 2 section 8 gives them license to do anything. They will also say that the Constitution is a living document and needs to looked at through the lens of today's world not the world of the 18th Century.
What I believe is required is someone that both believes in the Constitution from an originalist's perspective but also can translate how that applies to the free market and the real world that we live in today.  Tim has the breadth of experience required to talk authoritatively about those topics. As for people on the other side, I believe what will sway them is not an argument about original intent, but a discussion about how their voters will be impacted economically today and for the long term. That I'm afraid is the reality, people/politicians need to persuaded using logic that defines their self-interest as opposed to legal arguments about right, wrong, and original intent.
It is very advantageous to have the upbringing and legal training that Mike had but one can come to a sufficient understanding of the Constitution by other means. Life, political and business experience carry the day for me.
Thanks for explaining, Rod, and for your kind words.

I think Mike's constitutional views are more sophisticated than simple "original intent," which is hard to pin down anyway, since so many pieces of the Constitution were compromises among people with very different views. In any case, you're right, that particular misreading of the general welfare clause is already common enough, when the other side bothers to justify themselves in constitutional terms at all.

Just as Tim can make the constitutional arguments to some degree, I think Mike could make the economic ones, though neither would have the other's credibility on these points.

It really is a question of which background one thinks is a better fit for the times and the tasks ahead. I'll be very interested to see the results.

I'll be disappointed if Mike doesn't win, but I won't be disappointed if Tim wins -- if that makes any sense. [Great comment!] I don't remember ever having the luxury of choosing between two solid, intelligent, convincing conservatives in the same primary before.
I share your same closing sentiments and your views on original intent - it is more sophisticated than that and there were plenty of debates (however, I think all sides would agree that role being played by the federal government today is in total opposition to their intent) but the other side simply doesn't care about our perspective. The case must be taken to their voters and explained in terms of how this impacts us today. Then the opposition may listen (at least those who are honorable but misguided). Personally, I think there are a few (and perhaps many) who clearly know what they are doing and couldn't care less about the Constitution.
I am glad that you are out their fighting the good fight and trying to make a difference.


  1. I agree that Mike telling the Senate that a bill isn't constitutional will get anything accomplished. I hear from the Mike Lee supporters that we still need to sent him because we need more like him in the senate.

    I would argue that Tim Bridgewater will be almost as avid a constitutional supporter as Mike. Tim will still give each bill the constitutionallity test before he votes for them.

    I don't believe that Mike Lee pushing for debate over each bill's constitutionallity will accomplish anything except waste time in the senate because of the arguement about Article 2 section 8. This kind of debate would almost turn into a debate about the interperetation of the Bible and turn into a stalemate.

    I would be happy with either candidate, but I believe Tim is the best candidate to get the job done.

  2. That is a common theme I've heard from a lot of people who have served in Washington and know what it takes to get things done there. Reagan's style of befriending the opposition while maintaining his principles is very effective and is one seems to be part of Tim's nature.


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